Airlines, hotels, travel & tourism

Reality TV meets virtual tourism

What do you get if you cross a TV show like Survivor with a package holiday?The answer is tribal tourism. Two UK-based businessmen have come up with an idea whereby people can join a virtual tribe that will also exist on a real island in Fiji.For GB £120, 'Nomads' can join for 12 months and are allowed to visit the real island for seven nights. 'Hunters' join for 24 months for GB £240 and receive 14 nights accommodation while 'Warriors' 'subscribe' for 36 months and get 21 nights for GB £360. Once the 5,000th member has joined the virtual community, a real island is leased to the tribe which then starts to make tribal decisions including what to build on the island.
Ref: Trendwatching (Neth), 25 April 2006, 'Tribal tourism'. See also
Search words: travel, holidays, tribes, islands, virtual

Luxury and economy are in the air

If the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg is anything to go by airline passengers can expect an increasingly quiet and comfortable ride in the future - if they can pay for it.Apart from the use of new lightweight materials (eg, Boeing's Dreamliner) ideas were broadly focused on improving passenger comfort and experience (not a bad idea as the level of complaints grew last year according to a new study). New innovations include seats with ergonomic memory foam (to reduce pressure on muscles and joints) and a wide range of business and first class amenities including on-board wi-fi connections (hardly new) and improved entertainment options. Meanwhile, down in the cheap seats, a really radical new idea is brewing - planes with standing room only. That's right, planes where you stand up all the way secured to a vertical 'standing seat' (if that isn't an oxymoron I don't know what is). If you think this is impossible, hold onto your scepticism for a moment. According to the US Federal Aviation Authority, passengers don't actually have to be sitting during a flight. They simply insist that people are 'secured'. This opens up all sorts of possibilities from lying down to standing up. Will this idea take off? Given the continual pressure to reduce costs and keep ticket prices low it might just fly for a short time, but don't hold your breath.
Ref; Businessweek (US), 12 April 2006, 'Tomorrow's planes stop over in Hamburg',
R. Jana. Palm Beach Post (US), 29 April 2006, 'Yet another airline-friendly sky innovation', G. McEvoy.
Search words: airlines, aeroplanes, seats, standing, low-cost

Inside out

What are some of the consequences of global climate change? On what some might consider a rather frivolous level, one implication may be that we start taking our holidays indoors. In other words, if the weather becomes unreliable (or hostile) outside we will see more companies building climate-controlled artificial environments.So, for example, you will be able to enjoy a perfect English summer in the countryside even if it's raining, or have guaranteed snow at Christmas. If you think this is wishful thinking, it's already happening under a series of very large roofs. At Phoenix Ocean World in Seagaia, Japan, you can ride 11-foot waves in a giant 984 x 328 foot swimming pool in the middle of winter or just lie beside the water on the man-made beach. Over in Dubai you can go skiing in the middle of summer at the newly-opened 1330 foot ski 'mountain' (next door to the 350-shop Mall of the Emirates, the largest mall outside of the US). However, the award for the most lateral idea must surely go to a man called Colin Au who has reversed the idea of cruising. When faced with the problem of what to do with an old airship hanger just south of Berlin, Mr Au turned it into a cruise ship - minus the ship. At 1170-foot long, 683-foot wide, it is a tropical holiday space complete with 'sun', water and 'native' dance shows.
Ref: Hemisphere magazine (US), 'Outside In', P. Thomas.
Search words: holidays, outdoor, outside, weather